Best Long Range Range Radio in Canada

Hello everyone,

I have a pair of Motorola MT350 radios with 22 channels. Its states channels 8-14 are FRS at 0.5 watt maximum. And channels 1-7 and 15-22 are GMRS at 1.5 watts. I need longer range hand held radios for camping in the woods/mountians in Banff and Jasper National Parks. I have heard that radios in Canada up to 5 watts do not need licensure. Can someone please confirm this and show me the source?

Also, what hand held radios can you recommend for me to get better range in the woods? I can’t find any power levels for the Midland LXT633VP4 or Midland T77VP5 except a “high” amd “low” setting. The Dewalt Two-Way Radios DXFRS800 advertise their radios at 2 watts but I think are aimed for the construction industry. The Midland GXT1000GXT 1000 / 1030 / 1040 /1050 / 1191 seem awesome, but I can find any power ratings similiar to this thread (using Midland GXT 1000 in Canada).

Any input would be much appreciated!


The amount of power has little to do with range.

Range is dependent upon the gain of the antenna, the height of the antenna above average terrain, the location where you use it, and the frequency - since lower frequencies tends to travel closer to the earth while higher frequencies tends to be blocked by objects such as trees and leaves in trees and hills, mountains, etc.

GMRS Bubble Pack Radios are not cell phones, they tend to have a range of somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple of hundred yards to 3 miles – if you are on top of a mountain looking down or across to another person - line of sight.

Amateur Radio - may have repeaters / towers built that you could use if both users had an amateur radio license. But you aren’t asking that question.

Dollar for dollar for someone not interested in getting any sort of license, a cell phone / SAT Phone is your best bet.

Hi @Blackhawks. I would be happy to shed some light on this issue for you. GMRS usage in Canada follows the same regulations as here in the US. The radios can be used license-free at up to 2 watts of power. Anything above 2 watts will still require licensing, which is the main reason most manufacturers have adjusted their radios to max out at 2 watts of less. They want to be able to sell and advertise their products as “100% license-free”. Regardless of what others may say, transmit wattage absolutely translates into range. Higher wattage = more range.

That being said, your best bet for most range in a handheld unit will be the Midland GXT1000’s. Unfortunately, they are no longer 5 watt units like they used to be, but they will still beat out most other consumer radios with around 3 watts of power.

If I can add to what Rob said, a little history. Canada has never required a GMRS licence. That is strictly for the U.S. On the other hand, Canada has always only allowed 2-watts maximum for any GMRS or FRS radio. Technically, all FRS and GMRS radios in Canada are “licence-free” but you would need to keep them under 2-watts.

There are no issues with buying GMRS and shipping to Canada because many of them can have the power adjusted downward. Plus, I will leave it up to Rob to comment on how the advertised wattage of many two-way radios is often far higher than the standard that the government uses, which I believe is ERP (effective radiated power.)

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